Friday, October 15, 2010

The cradle will rock: terrible kids' books written by rock stars

Why do rock stars think they can take their crappy lyrics and turn them into awesome children's books?

Why, because they know they can become a famous author in just five, easy steps:
  • Step one: rock star goes on tour.
    • Step two: rock star discovers drugs.
    • Step three: in a drug-induced haze, rock star sleeps with groupies/gold diggers.
    • Step four: rock star has a baby.
    • Step five: rock star marvels at the miracle of life, and writes a children's book, because children's books are just like songs - they have hardly any words, and the illustrations - the visual equivalent of "melodies" - do all of the heavy lifting.
    I give you:

    1. Sting - Rock Steady: A Story of Noah's Ark

    Who needs God when you've got a God-like ego?

    Sting is the man who once wrote "Hey, Mr. Brontosaurus, don't you have a lesson for us?" but that didn't prevent him from reading the Bible and deciding he could do a better job. So, in 2001, he published "Rock Steady: A Story of Noah's Ark."

    Get it? "Rock?" Like a boat? Awwww, forget it. 

    While five Amazon reviewers give the book an unbelievable five out of five stars, I'm with the lone reviewer who gives it one.

    The reviewer calls himself "A Customer," but it's probably none other than Noah himself: "I have thrown my copy in the trash."

    2. Billy Joel - Goodnight, My Angel

    Somewhere between marrying young girls and crashing his car into trees, Joel penned this sappy love letter to his daughter, who - like his current wife - was already in her twenties when it was published in 2004.

    The illustrations make the book even creepier - so much so that even the School Library Journal gives it a giant thumbs down: "This bland visual rendering of one of Joel's popular ballads takes what should be a universal declaration of love between a parent and child and turns it into a narrow, limiting sentiment."

    3. Madonna - The English Roses

    Madonna trades in her pointy bra for something even more uncomfortable: the role of a moralist blowhard, who jumps to the defense of good-looking people everywhere.

    Our author knows of what she speaks: as a hot babe, she knows that even the best-looking among us have to endure terrible things like, for instance, the jealous barbs of ugly people who are so cruel that they sometimes even pretend good-looking people don't exist.

    And the problem is...?

    The book resolves itself when the bullies realize the pretty girl's mother is dead, and - whew! - the pretty girl squeaks into the gang on a technicality.

    4. Paul McCartney - High in the Clouds

    Will you still need me, will you still feed me (veggie burgers) when I'm 64?

    The title of McCartney's kids' book seems to hint at marijuana legalization, but no such luck: the book is predictably a pro-vegetarianism treatise.

    A squirrel sees his mom crushed by a bulldozer and he goes on a quest for a mythical island in which all animals can be free to do whatever they like - as long as the consumption of each other is not involved.

    5. Kylie Minogue - The Showgirl Princess

    A 32-page, hardcover picture book in which a showgirl takes a dazzling adventure through the scary lands of narcissism and self-promotion.

    The moral of the story, kids: Kylie's world tour is coming soon to a city near you, and you should buy tickets a.s.a.p.!

    6. Geri Halliwell - Ugenia Lavender and the Burning Pants

    Ugenia has burning pants, because she lies a lot. Make up your own joke here.

    7. Gloria Estefan - The Magically Mysterious Adventures of Noelle the Bulldog

    A bulldog has trouble teething. I think. The most mysterious thing about this book is that it's in Spanish, which means that, at some point in the book, someone will hear the dog making noises and whisper to no one in particular, "El Diablo!"

    8. Bob Dylan - Forever Young

    How does it feel to write a tome like a complete unknown with no direction home?

    Just a touch less depressing than the Bank of Montreal ad that hijacked "The Times They Are a-Changin'," Forever Young simply transcribes the lyrics to the famous Dylan song and places them amidst a cleaned-up, cartoonish version of the man's career.

    Save your money for the Bob Dylan stuffed doll instead.


    What could be worse than rock stars writing children's books? How about rock stars writing songs based on children's books, fairy tales, and nursery rhymes?

    To be continued...


    9. Paul Simon - At the Zoo

    CreComm instructor Melanie Lee Lockhart loaned me the Paul Simon Children's book, called At the Zoo, and pointed out the best part, where "the hamsters turn on frequently."

    What would Garfunkel say!?


    1. I'll bring my copy of Paul Simon's "At the Zoo" for you on Monday.

      For now, I'll leave you in suspense as to the illustration that goes with the lyric "...and hamsters turn on frequently."

    2. If Ozzy Osbourne ever reaches the point in his life when a kid's book is imminent, we'll know he has truly overcome his demons.

      Of course, the book will still need to be wrapped in cellophane, complete with a disclaimer and glossary for his unique language style.

    3. Ozzy is a no-brainer for a kids' book: "Don't do what I did!"

    4. Very entertaining.. I've always wondered as well why there's a growing trend for celebrities to write books, get their own perfume line, clothing line, convert from singer to actor and everything else they can think of.

    5. It's not enough to be an actor - you must also save the world! Ha!


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